This morning, we went back to the Northside Diner for breakfast, then checked out, and went to Walmart and sat on the bench out front to wait for the bus. It wasn't long before it picked us up. As we left the parking lot, Swamprat realized he had left his trekking poles back at the bench, and yelled, 'Stop the bus!' He ran out the door, all the way across the parking lot, and back, in his hiking boots. We sure were glad he noticed them missing when he did, because we would have had to ride the bus clear around town again to get them.
We made our next bus transfer and were soon heading for the trail. Along the way, the bus driver and a young woman on the bus gave us a pretty good recount of the damage that Hurricane Irene did to this area last year. This was one of the worst hit areas in the state, with lots of flooding, and many roads and bridges washed out. Apparently, Wilmington was really flooded, with Main Street getting 8 feet of water flowing down it. They also told us where we would be seeing damage on the trail.
The bus dropped us right at the trail head, and right away we crossed a bridge over a pretty clear stream. It was nice to see it flowing so nicely after seeing so many dried up streams over the past month. They sure did need that storm the other night.
We climbed about 1000 feet right away, getting us up on top of the ridge again. Several times we encountered southbounders (also referred to as sobos). We always ask them when they started at Mt. Katahdin, and love hearing their details of the White Mountains and Maine. There have only been about twenty or so since we encountered the first one of the year. Some days we see several, and some days we don't see any. There are far more that hike the trail northbound.
Today, besides the weather being perfect, the trail got more and more beautiful the farther north we got into Vermont. We came to a fire tower on the top of one mountain, and climbed to the top. The tower was built in 1927, and had a sign on it warning that the capacity was only 4 people. There was no glass left in any of the windows, so at the top it was very windy. The view in all directions was just beautiful! And the sky was clear - perfect for pictures!
We ran across a really tiny newt at one point. It was so small, we put an orange peanut M&M next to it to show scale. We saw a red squirrel today also. I wish I had gotten a picture. I had never seen one before. He was a small squirrel - in between the size of a chipmunk and a grey squirrel and just really cute - he looked like a little stuffed animal.
We met a few new nobos today along the way - all of them about our age or slightly older. One was at a really nice shelter that had a great view, just sitting in the sun reading. I was wishing I didn't have anywhere I needed to go. I would just sit there for days. He had found a perfect place to relax with a great view and perfect cool breeze.
The rest of us headed north for a shelter for the night, and when we arrived, that one had a beautiful view as well! We camped right at the edge of the woods.
Tonight we are supposed to have rain again, as well as all day tomorrow. We have been so very lucky with the weather so far, I hope our luck holds out!
- Steady and F100